Lutz Huelle, the London-trained, Paris-based designer behind Lutz has been something of a fashion insider’s brand for prêt a porter womenswear since being set up by Lutz Huelle and David Ballu in 2000.
Rather unexpectedly for a brand set up in Paris and rightly expecting the appropriate audience for German Huelle’s approach in Europe, the label has also gained a steady and growing following in the USA. Following his impressive performance in studies at London’s Central St Martins, Huelle went on to work for Maison Martin Margiela for three years, leading on the knitwear and artisanal lines. But, even at the point of graduation, Lutz’s designs under his own name gathered an ardent following, being sold at hip concept stores such as Pineal Eye in their cutting-edge heyday.
Since then, Lutz’s particular vision for fashion has moved steadfastly from the realm of hot young experimental talent to mature and innovative women’s fashion. The apparent simplicity of a collection at first glance – emphasised by a penchant for stark palettes in a limited number of strong understated colours- soon reveals itself to be far more complex indeed. The no-fuss practicality is seriously intended and probably explains the popularity of the brand with busy professional women and not only fashionistas. But this hardly prevents it from sexy, sensual and clothing that makes a strong statement.
Lutz’s architectonic approach to materials is both witty and deeply creative: swathes and drapes create the spaces for practicalities such as bags or pouches without ever rupturing the sculptural form of a particular silhouette. Simple ties or dramatic slashes are all used in a way that adds up to an aesthetic that owes as much to the lessons learnt from the great Japanese designers gaining recognition in the 1980’s as to an overarching north European modernist mentality.
Constructed in good quality fabrics, each collection shows itself to have the necessary versatility for both seasonal demands and those difficult in-between patches where climate remains unpredictable. The cool simplicity of the current SS10 collection, for example, would be easily complemented – both practically and aesthetically- by one of the layered pieces from the AW10 collection for the smart shopper ready to pounce at its first appearance in the shops.